Thought for the Day – 30 June – The Memorial of The First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome
Nero became the emperor of Rome in 54. About 10 years later, he began to persecute the Christians. When a terrible fire broke out in the city, Nero accused the Christians of causing it. He increased his efforts to destroy them. Nero had Christians covered with pitch and set on fire to light the way for his night drive through the park. He had some Christians sewn into animal skins and left in the woods so that he and his guests could go hunting for them. In the two centuries after Nero, thousands of Christians were put to death. All these unnamed martyrs are honoured on this day, after the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, both of course Martyrs for their love of Christ.
Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow Him shared His suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians. Do we stand up or crumble in the face of persecution? I truly wonder how any of us would fair if faced with torture and death for the sake of Christ.
First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Pray for us!
Quote/s of the Day – 30 June – The Memorial of Blessed Raymond Lull T.O.S.F. (c 1232 – c1315) Martyr
“The Beloved created and the Lover destroyed. The Beloved judged and the Lover wept. Then the Beloved redeemed him and the Lover again had glory. The Beloved finished His work and the Lover remained forever, in his Beloved’s companionship.”
“Death has no terrors for a sincere servant of Christ, who is labouring to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth.”
One Minute Reflection – 30 June – Saturday of the Twelth Week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel Matthew 8:5-17 – The Memorial of The First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome & Blessed Raymond Lull T.O.S.F. (c 1232 – c1315) Martyr
“I say to you, many will come, from the east and the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.”…Matthew 8:11
REFLECTION – “And the saints who preceded us are also waiting for us, slow and lazy as we are. Their joy is not perfect so long as there is reason to weep over our sins. The apostle testifies to this for me when he says: “Without us, they were not to be made perfect.” (Heb 11:40) So see: Abraham is waiting. Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets are waiting for us to possess perfect beatitude with us… If you are holy, you will have joy when you leave this life but that joy will only be complete when not one of the members of the Body we are all to form together is missing anymore. You will also wait for others in the same way as you were awaited. Now if you who are only one member cannot have perfect joy if another member is absent, how much more our Lord and Saviour, who is both the author and the head of the entire Body… Then we will have come to the maturity of which the apostle Paul said: “The life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me.” (Gal 2:20) Then our pontiff will drink the new wine in the new heaven, on the new earth, in the new human person, with the new human persons, with those who sing the new song.”…Origen (c185-253)
PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation, so that freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You faithfully, all the days of our life and attain the light and joy of our heavenly home. By the blood of the Martyrs and the glory of the Communion of Saints, strengthen us with their faith and endurance. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in unity with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 June – The Memorial of The First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome & Blessed Raymond Lull T.O.S.F. (c 1232 – c1315) Martyr
My Lord, My Light St Paschal Baylon O.F.M. (1540-1592)
I desire to love You,
my Lord, my Light,
my Strength, my Deliverer,
my God and my All.
What have I in heaven, O Lord,
and what do I want
besides Your love and grace?
You are the God of my heart,
You are my portion,
my inheritance for eternity.
Saint of the Day – 30 June – Blessed Raymond Lull T.O.S.F. (c 1232 – c1315) Martyr – born in c1234 at Palma, Majorca, Spain and died – • some writers indicate that he died in Bougie, Algeria in 1325 • but he may have died of natural causes during the return ocean voyage from Tunis. Also known as – Doctor Illuminatus, Ramon Llull. Raymond was a Philosopher, Logician, Writer, Poet, Pioneer in computation theory, Franciscan tertiary. Within the Franciscan Order he is honoured as a martyr. He was beatified in 1847 by Pope Pius IX.
Raymond was born into the noble Lull family at Palma, on the island of Mallorca. At an early age, he was selected as a page at the royal court, and over the first 30 years of his life served the royal family in a variety of positions, eventually becoming the marshal and high steward to King James.
Raymond lived a life of luxury and worldly pursuits. He was married and produced two children with his wife, although also had numerous affairs and engaged in dissolute activities. One day, while writing a letter to one of the women he was seeing, Raymond was stricken with a vision of Christ, crucified on the cross. Five additional visions followed and he was brought to the faith, converting and dedicating himself to the Gospel. Soon thereafter, following a moving sermon by a local bishop who spoke about the contempt of the world and the love of Christ, Raymond answered the call of the Lord to forsake all things and to win for Christ the infidels on the northern coast of Africa.
Raymond wasted little time. He resigned his royal offices and dedicated himself to the education and care of missionaries. He founded a college for the Order of the Friars Minor and devoted himself to the mastery of and instruction of others in, the languages of Northern Africa. He became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis and embarked on a nine year mission of solitude and contemplation on a remote mountain, spending his days in prayer and study, hoping to prepare himself for inspire mission work. During that time, he was graced with heavenly inspiration and extraordinary knowledge and was subsequently able to answer deeply complex philosophical and theological questions.
Following his time in solitude, Raymond travelled extensively—to Rome, Avingon, Montpellier, Paris and throughout Europe—spreading the Gospel, founding seminaries, and establishing schools for missionaries. At the age of 79, he journey on mission to Africa, as had been his calling. While preaching the faith in a public square at Bougie, he was set upon by radical Muslims in the community, who stoned him nearly to death. Rescued by Greek sailors, he died shortly thereafter, en route to his home island of Mallorca. He was buried in the Franciscan church at Palma and numerous miracles were reported at his tomb.
Blessed Raymond Lull wrote over 300 works in Latin, Arabi, and Catalan during his life, on a multitude of topics including theology, logic, philosophy, poetry, fiction, alchemy, and natural sciences. While his works were mostly academic in nature, he also strove to make difficult concepts accessible to all, illustrating points through fiction.
It can be documented that Llull was buried at the Church of Saint Francis in Mallorca by March 1316.
Raymond worked most of his life to help spread the gospel. Indifference on the part of some Christian leaders and opposition in North Africa did not turn him from his goal. Three hundred years later Raymond’s work began to have an influence in the Americas.
First Holy Martyrs of the Church of Rome (Optional Memorial)
St Adolphus of Osnabrück
St Alpinian of Limoges
St Alrick the Hermit
Bl Ambrose de Feis
Bl Anthony de Tremoulières
Bl Arnulf of Villers
St Austriclinian of Limoges
St Basilides of Alexandria
St Bertrand of Le Mans
St Clotsindis of Marchiennes
Bl Elisabeth Heimburg
St Emiliana of Rome
Bl Gennaro Maria Sarnelli
Bl Jacob Clou
St Leo the Deacon
St Lucina of Rome
St Lucina of the Callistus Catacombs
St Marcian of Pampeluna
St Martial of Limoges
St Otto of Bamberg
St Peter of Asti
St Petrus Li Quanhui
Bl Philip Powel
St Raimundus Li Quanzhen
Bl Raymond Lull T.O.S.F. (c 1232 – c1315)
St Theobald of Provins
Bl Vasyl Vsevolod Velychkovskyi
St Vihn Son Ðo Yen
Bl Zenon Kovalyk
Martyrs of Africa – 7 saints: Seven Christians martyred together. No detail about them have surived but the names – Cursicus, Gelatus, Italica, Leo, Timotheus, Zoilus, and Zoticus. Date and precise location in Africa unknown.
Congratulations, Prayers and Love to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the occasion of the 67th Anniversary of his Priestly Ordination
PRAYER FOR POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI
ON THE 67TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ORDINATION – 29 JUNE 2018
Most gracious Heavenly Father,
We thank You for our faithful Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,
whose spiritual fatherhood and example of fidelity,
self-sacrifice, humility and devotion
has been so vital to the faith of Your people
through 67 years of living his role as Your earthly shepherd.
May our spiritual father, who continues his mission for his flock
be always guided by the examples of Saints Peter and Paul,
all the Apostles and their saintly successors.
Give him valiant strength in his twilight years,
hope in times of trouble and sorrow and steadfast love for You,
and for all Your people throughout the world.
May the light of Your Truth continue to shine through him.
We thank You for blessing Pope Emeritus Benedict with his
continued generosity in imparting his knowledge to all Your children.
Bless him and keep him and protect him
and let him know that he is greatly loved and respected.
Our prayers arise to You, our Father for our beloved Pope Benedict
Through Christ, our Lord.
Thought for the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
We would probably go to confession to Peter, sooner than to any of the other apostles. He is perhaps a more striking example of the simple fact of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: “It is not you who have chosen me but I who have chosen you. Peter, it is not human wisdom that makes it possible for you to believe but my Father’s revelation. I, not you, build my Church.”
Paul’s experience of the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous, dynamic and courageous ambassadors of Christ the Church has ever had. But persecution, humiliation and weakness became his day-by-day carrying of the cross, material for further transformation. The dying Christ was in him; the living Christ was his life.
We owe our faith to these two great Apostles and like Jesus, Himself, their death was our life!
St Peter, the foundation of our home on earth, incomparable St Paul, “the chosen vessel”, you were partners in death and share the glorious crown. You are both lamps to guide our feet, lights and jewels of the Universal Church, please Pray for us!
Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
“Their sound has gone out into all the earth and their words to the ends of the world”
“Where Peter is, there is the Church. Where the Church is, there is Jesus Christ. Where Jesus Christ is, there is eternal salvation.”
St Ambrose (340-397)
One of the original four Doctors of the Church
“There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“There must be general rejoicing, dearly beloved, over this holy company whom God has appointed for our example in patience and for our confirmation in faith. But we must glory even more in the excellence of their fathers, Peter and Paul, whom the grace of God has raised to such a height among all the members of the Church that He has set them like twin lights of eyes in that Body whose head is Christ.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church
Today the Lord repeats to me, to you…: Follow Me! Waste no time in questioning or in useless chattering; do not dwell on secondary things but look to what is essential and follow Me. Follow Me without regard for the difficulties. Follow Me in preaching the Gospel. Follow Me by the witness of a life shaped by the grace you received in baptism….. and holy orders. Follow Me by speaking of Me, to those with whom you live, day after day, in your work, your conversations and among your friends. Follow Me by proclaiming the Gospel to all, especially to the least among us, so that no one will fail to hear the word of life, which sets us free from every fear and enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God. Follow Me!
One Minute Reflection – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 16:13–19
And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” …Matthew 16:18-19
REFLECTION – “And so it is with Rome, where the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, gave with their blood their final witness. The vocation of Rome is of apostolic origin and the ministry which it is our lot to exercise here, is a service for the benefit of the entire Church and of mankind. But it is an irreplaceable service, because it has pleased the Wisdom of God to place the Rome of Peter and Paul, so to speak, on the road that leads to the eternal City, by the fact that Wisdom chose to confide to Peter—who unifies in himself the College of Bishops—the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What remains here, not through the effect of man’s will but through the free and merciful benevolence of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit, is the soliditas Petri, such as our predecessor Saint Leo the Great extolled in unforgettable terms: “Saint Peter does not cease to preside over his See and preserves an endless sharing, with the Sovereign Priest. The firmness that he received from the Rock which is Christ, he himself, having become the Rock, transmits it equally to his successors.”…Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) – Exhortation on Christian Joy, 1975
PRAYER – Lord our God, You give us the great joy of devoting this day to the honour of the apostles Peter and Paul. Provide us, by their intercession, with help for our eternal salvation. Grant that Your Church may follow their teaching to the full, because these are the men who first taught us to worship You in Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
What Fairer Light?
Hymn for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul Elphis, c 493, wife of Boethius c 477– 524 Translation: R A Knox, 1888-1957
What fairer light is this than time itself doth own,
The golden day with beams more radiant brightening?
The princes of God’s Church this feast day doth enthrone,
To sinners heavenward bound their burden lightening.
One taught mankind its creed, one guards the heavenly gate,
Founders of Rome, they bind the world in loyalty;
One by the sword achieved, one by the cross his fate;
With laurelled brows they hold eternal royalty.
Rejoice, O Rome, this day, thy walls they once did sign
With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee.
What city’s vesture glows with crimson deep as thine?
What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?
To God the three in one eternal homage be,
All honour, all renown, all songs victorious,
Who rules both heaven and earth by one divine decree
To everlasting years in empire glorious.
Wishing you all a Holy and Blessed Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
St Augustine (354-430)
This day has been consecrated for us by the Martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. “Their sound has gone out into all the earth and their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19). These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.
The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, “And I say to you, that you are Peter” (Matthew 16:13-20). He himself, you see, had just said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ said to him, “And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” I will build My Church, because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky”, from “rock” not “rock” from “Rocky”. Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.
Before His passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of His whom He called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere, was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, “To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” After all, it is not just one man that received these keys but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, “To you I am entrusting,” what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all His apostles: “Receive the Holy Spirit” and immediately afterwards, “Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained” (John 20:22-23).
Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after His resurrection entrust His sheep to Peter to be fed (Jn. 21: 15-19). It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And He first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once and again, and a third time, entrusted His sheep to Peter.
There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed.
We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.
O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul
give us the noble and holy joy of this day,
grant, we pray, that Your Church
may in all things follow the teaching
of those through whom she received
the beginnings of right religion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
St Anastasius of Bourges
St Benedicta of Sens
St Cassius of Narni
St Ciwg ap Arawn
Bl Hemma of Gurk
St Ilud Ferch Brychan
St Judith of Niederaltaich
St Marcellus of Bourges
St Mary, the Mother of John Mark
Bl Pierre of Tarentaise the Elder
St Salome of Niederaltaich
St Syrus of Genoa
Bl William of Sann
Martyrs of China
Ioannes Baptista Wu Mantang
Magdalena Du Fengju
Maria Du Tianshi
Paulus Wu Anju
Paulus Wu Wanshu
Thought for the Day – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
III. Only One Faith (#172-175)
172 Through the centuries, in so many languages, cultures, peoples and nations, the Church has constantly confessed this one faith, received from the one Lord, transmitted by one Baptism and grounded in the conviction, that all people have only one God and Father. St Irenaeus of Lyons, a witness of this faith, declared:
173 “Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples. . . guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart and preaches, teaches and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth.”
174 “For though languages differ throughout the world, the content of the Tradition is one and the same. The Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor do those of the Iberians, nor those of the Celts, nor those of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, nor those established at the centre of the world. . .” The Church’s message “is true and solid, in which one and the same way of salvation appears throughout the whole world.”
175 “We guard with care the faith that we have received from the Church, for without ceasing, under the action of God’s Spirit, this deposit of great price, as if in an excellent vessel, is constantly being renewed and causes the very vessel that contains it to be renewed.”
From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus
“The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to His Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to His own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning. If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God. Since we have our accuser, we need an Advocate as well.
And so the Lord in His pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having Himself bound up his wounds and left for his care two coins, bearing the royal image, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit. Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church
“Our way of thinking, is attuned to the Eucharist and the Eucharist in turn, confirms our way of thinking.”
“Jesus Christ, in His infinite love, has become what we are, in order that He may make us entirely what He is.”
“It is not you that shapes God. It is God that shapes you. If then you are the work of God await the Hand of the artist who does all things in due season. Offer Him your heart, soft and tractable and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you. Let the clay be moist lest you go hard and lose the imprint of His Fingers.”
“As long as anyone has the means of doing good to his neighbours and does not do so, he shall be reckoned a stranger to the love of the Lord.”
The business of the Christian is nothing else but to be ever preparing for death.
“The universal Church, that is, the faithful everywhere, must be in agreement with this Church because of her outstanding superiority.”
“Being obedient she (Mary) became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church – Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 24:8-17, Psalm 79:1-5, 8-9, Matthew 7:21-29
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; deliver us and forgive our sins, for thy name’s sake!…Psalm 79(78):9
REFLECTION – “For this is why the Word became man and the Son of God became the Son of man – so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”… St Irenaeus
PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation, so that, freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You faithfully, according to Your Word, all the days of our life. Grant that by the prayers of St Irenaeus, we may always work for the truth, for unity and for love and peace. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church
O Lamb of God By St Irenaeus
O Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world,
look upon us and have mercy upon us;
You who art Yourself, both victim and Priest,
Yourself, both Reward and Redeemer,
keep safe from all evil
those whom You have redeemed,
O Saviour of the world.
Saint of the Day – 28 June – St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church, Bishop, Theologian, Writer, Confessor, Defender of the Faith, Apologist. St Irenaeus was born in c130 in Smyrna, Asia Minor (modern Izmir, Turkey) and is presumed to have been martyred in c 202 in Lyons, France.
Catechesis of Pope Benedict XVI on St Irenaeus of Lyon
General Audience, Wednesday, 28 March 2007
In the Catechesis on the prominent figures of the early Church, today we come to the eminent personality of St Irenaeus of Lyons. The biographical information on him comes from his own testimony, handed down to us by Eusebius in his fifth book on Church History.
Irenaeus was, in all probability, born in Smyrna (today, Izmir in Turkey) in about 135-140, where in his youth, he attended the school of Bishop Polycarp, a disciple in his turn of the Apostle John. We do not know when he moved from Asia Minor to Gaul but his move must have coincided with the first development of the Christian community in Lyons, here, in 177, we find Irenaeus listed in the college of presbyters. In that very year, he was sent to Rome, bearing a letter from the community in Lyons, to Pope Eleutherius. His mission to Rome saved Irenaeus from the persecution of Marcus Aurelius which took a toll of at least 48 martyrs, including the 90-year old Bishop Pontinus of Lyons, who died from ill-treatment in prison. Thus, on his return, Irenaeus was appointed Bishop of the city. The new Pastor devoted himself without reserve to his episcopal ministry which ended in about 202-203, perhaps with martyrdom.
Irenaeus was first and foremost a man of faith and a Pastor. Like a good Pastor, he had a good sense of proportion, a wealth of doctrine and missionary enthusiasm. As a writer, he pursued a twofold aim, to defend true doctrine from the attacks of heretics and to explain the truth of the faith clearly. His two extant works – the five books of The Detection and Overthrow of the False Gnosis and Demonstration of the Apostolic Teaching(which can also be called the oldest “catechism of Christian doctrine”) – exactly corresponded with these aims. In short, Irenaeus can be defined as the champion in the fight against heresies.
The second-century Church was threatened by the so-called Gnosis, a doctrine which affirmed that the faith taught in the Church was merely a symbolism for the simple who were unable to grasp difficult concepts, instead, the initiates, the intellectuals – Gnostics, they were called – claimed to understand what was behind these symbols and thus formed an elitist and intellectualist Christianity. Obviously, this intellectual Christianity became increasingly fragmented, splitting into different currents with ideas that were often bizarre and extravagant, yet attractive to many. One element these different currents had in common was “dualism” – they denied faith in the one God and Father of all, Creator and Saviour of man and of the world. To explain evil in the world, they affirmed the existence, besides the Good God, of a negative principle. This negative principle was supposed to have produced material things, matter.
Firmly rooted in the biblical doctrine of creation, Irenaeus refuted the Gnostic dualism and pessimism which debased corporeal realities. He decisively claimed the original holiness of matter, of the body, of the flesh no less than of the spirit. But his work went far beyond the confutation of heresy, in fact, one can say, that he emerges as the first great Church theologian who created systematic theology, he himself speaks of the system of theology, that is, of the internal coherence of all faith. At the heart of his doctrine is the question of the “rule of faith” and its transmission. For Irenaeus, the “rule of faith” coincided in practice with the Apostles’ Creed, which gives us the key for interpreting the Gospel, for interpreting the Creed in light of the Gospel. The Creed, which is a sort of Gospel synthesis, helps us understand what it means and how we should read the Gospel itself.
In fact, the Gospel preached by Irenaeus is the one he was taught by Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, and Polycarp’s Gospel dates back to the Apostle John, whose disciple Polycarp was.
The true teaching, therefore, is not that invented by intellectuals which goes beyond the Church’s simple faith. The true Gospel is the one imparted by the Bishops who received it in an uninterrupted line from the Apostles. They taught nothing except this simple faith, which is also the true depth of God’s revelation. Thus, Irenaeus tells us, there is no secret doctrine concealed in the Church’s common Creed. There is no superior Christianity for intellectuals. The faith publicly confessed by the Church is the common faith of all. This faith alone is apostolic, it is handed down from the Apostles, that is, from Jesus and from God. In adhering to this faith, publicly transmitted by the Apostles to their successors, Christians must observe what their Bishops say and must give special consideration to the teaching of the Church of Rome, pre-eminent and very ancient. It is because of her antiquity that this Church has the greatest apostolicity; in fact, she originated in Peter and Paul, pillars of the Apostolic College. All Churches must agree with the Church of Rome, recognising in her the measure of the true Apostolic Tradition, the Church’s one common faith.
With these arguments, summed up very briefly here, Irenaeus refuted the claims of these Gnostics, these intellectuals, from the start. First of all, they possessed no truth superior to that of the ordinary faith, because what they said was not of apostolic origin, it was invented by them. Secondly, truth and salvation are not the privilege or monopoly of the few but are available to all through the preaching of the Successors of the Apostles, especially of the Bishop of Rome. In particular – once again disputing the “secret” character of the Gnostic tradition and noting its multiple and contradictory results – Irenaeus was concerned to describe the genuine concept of the Apostolic Tradition which we can sum up here in three points.
a) Apostolic Tradition is “public”, not private or secret. Irenaeus did not doubt that the content of the faith transmitted by the Church is that received from the Apostles and from Jesus, the Son of God. There is no other teaching than this. Therefore, for anyone who wishes to know true doctrine, it suffices to know “the Tradition passed down by the Apostles and the faith proclaimed to men” – a tradition and faith that “have come down to us through the succession of Bishops”(Adversus Haereses, 3, 3, 3-4). Hence, the succession of Bishops, the personal principle and Apostolic Tradition, the doctrinal principle, coincide.
b) Apostolic Tradition is “one”.Indeed, whereas Gnosticism was divided into multiple sects, Church Tradition is one in its fundamental content, which – as we have seen – Irenaeus calls precisely regula fidei or veritatis – and thus, because it is one, it creates unity through the peoples, through the different cultures, through the different peoples; it is a common content like the truth, despite the diversity of languages and cultures. A very precious saying of St Irenaeus is found in his book Adversus Haereses: “The Church, though dispersed throughout the world… having received [this faith from the Apostles]… as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart and she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world” (1, 10, 1-2). Already at that time – we are in the year 200 – it was possible to perceive the Church’s universality, her catholicity and the unifying power of the truth that unites these very different realities, from Germany, to Spain, to Italy, to Egypt, to Libya, in the common truth revealed to us by Christ.
c) Lastly, the Apostolic Tradition,as he says in the Greek language in which he wrote his book, is “pneumatic”, in other words, spiritual, guided by the Holy Spirit, in Greek, the word for “spirit” is “pneuma”. Indeed, it is not a question of a transmission entrusted to the ability of more or less learned people but to God’s Spirit, who guarantees fidelity to the transmission of the faith.
This is the “life” of the Church, what makes the Church ever young and fresh, fruitful with multiple charisms.
For Irenaeus, Church and Spirit were inseparable: “This faith”, we read again in the third book of Adversus Haereses, “which, having been received from the Church, we do preserve and which always, by the Spirit of God, renewing its youth as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent vessel, causes the vessel itself containing it, to renew its youth also…. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and every kind of grace”(3, 24, 1).
As can be seen, Irenaeus did not stop at defining the concept of Tradition. His tradition, uninterrupted Tradition, is not traditionalism, because this Tradition is always enlivened from within by the Holy Spirit, who makes it live anew, causes it to be interpreted and understood in the vitality of the Church. Adhering to her teaching, the Church should transmit the faith in such a way that it must be what it appears, that is, “public”, “one”, “pneumatic”, “spiritual”. Starting with each one of these characteristics, a fruitful discernment can be made of the authentic transmission of the faith in the today of the Church.
More generally, in Irenaeus’ teaching, the dignity of man, body and soul, is firmly anchored in divine creation, in the image of Christ and in the Spirit’s permanent work of sanctification. This doctrine is like a “high road” in order to discern together with all people of good will, the object and boundaries of the dialogue of values and to give an ever new impetus to the Church’s missionary action, to the force of the truth, which is the source of all true values in the world.
Bl Almus of Balmerino
St Argymirus of Córdoba
St Attilio of Trino
St Austell of Cornwall
St Benignus of Utrecht
Bl Damian of Campania
St John Southworth
St Papias the Martyr
St Pope Paul I
Bl Teresa Maria Mastena
St Vincentia Gerosa
Martyrs of Africa – 27 saints: 27 Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are the names – Afesius, Alexander, Amfamon, Apollonius, Arion, Capitolinus, Capitulinus, Crescens, Dionusius, Dioscorus, Elafa, Eunuchus, Fabian, Felix, Fisocius, Gurdinus, Hinus, Meleus, Nica, Nisia, Pannus, Panubrius, Plebrius, Pleosus, Theoma, Tubonus and Venustus. Unknown location in Africa, date unknown.
Martyrs of Alexandria – 8 saints: A group of spiritual students of Origen who were martyred together in the persecutions of emperor Septimius Severus – Heraclides, Heron, Marcella, Plutarch, Potamiaena the Elder, Rhais, Serenus and Serenus. They were burned to death c.206 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Thought for the Day – 27 June – The Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour ( Under the Protection of the Redemptiorists – CSsr)
An artist about to paint an icon prepares himself spiritually by prayer, confession, Holy Communion and sometimes fasting. He prays even while painting, for he sees himself as an instrument of the Holy Spirit, the principal artist, Who will use the icon as an instrument to channel graces to those who reverence it and pray before it. In most cases, the artist does not even sign his name to his work.
In Western art, there is little difference in the styles used in sacred art as compared to secular art; only the subject matter is different. Icons, however, are not meant to be realistic as far as physical representation, but rather to portray eternal truths in a way that immediately transports the viewer to a spiritual plane. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is as theology in line and colour. The images are rendered in an extremely stylised, non-naturalistic way. The folds of garments appear as simple geometric forms, while faces and bodies show portray human nature transformed by grace into the divine.
In the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Child Jesus is not portrayed with the physical proportions of an infant but appears almost as an adult in miniature form. This has been interpreted to indicate that He is God, having infinite knowledge. Yet He is human as well, for He clings to His Mother’s hand in fear, while gazing up toward the angel over His shoulder. One of His sandals has come loose, indicating the haste with which He had run to her.
Why is the Child Jesus so frightened? The angels in the picture are holding instruments of His Passion and death, with the angel on the left bearing the gall, the lance and the reed, while the angel on the right holds the cross and nails. Their hands are covered with a cloth or veil, much like the humeral veil that the priest holds when blessing with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance at Benediction.
The face of Our Lady is grave and sorrowful, with her large eyes directed not at Jesus, but at us. One feels that she is pleading with us to avoid sin, which has caused her Son to suffer so much for us. Her gaze makes us a part of the picture and the pain it portrays. “Will you not love my Son, Who has loved you so much?” she seems to say.
Our Lady is clothed in the colours of royalty; her tunic is of dark red and her mantle is dark blue with a green lining. (According to another interpretation, the dark red is said to be the colour worn by virgins at the time of Christ, while blue was the colour worn by mothers in Palestine.) The Child Jesus also wears the colours of royalty. Both Jesus and Mary have golden halos, but Christ’s halo is decorated with a cross as a sign of His Divinity and Passion. Jewelled crowns were placed on the heads of both Mother and Child of the original icon by order of the Vatican in 1867. (The crowns were removed when the icon underwent restoration in the 1990’s.)
The Greek initials next to the head of Our Lady identify her as “Mother of God,” while those next to the Child are the abbreviation for “Jesus Christ.” The letters over the angels’ heads indicate the one on the left as St Michael and the one on the right as S. Gabriel.
The 8-pointed star on Our Lady’s veil tells us that she is the Star of the Sea, the Star that leads us to Jesus. The small ornate cross to the left of the star reinforces this concept.
Mary’s mouth is small to indicate her spirit of silence and prayer. Her eyes are large, for they see all of our troubles and needs and are always turned toward us.
Christ’s hands, turned palms down into His Mother’s, indicate that He has placed the graces of the Redemption in her keeping. Our Lady’s hand does not clasp those of her Son but remains open, inviting us to put our hands in hers along with those of Jesus.
As in other icons, the background of the painting is gold to symbolize Heaven, where Jesus and Mary now reign in glory. This light of Heaven shines through their clothing, illuminating not only the picture itself but those who behold it. This radiance speaks to us of God’s light and grace, strengthening and consoling us as we journey through life to our heavenly goal.
Finally, it is of no small significance that Our Blessed Mother herself referred to the icon by the title of “Holy Mary of Perpetual Succour.” Surely this, along with the symbolism we see in the picture, should assure us of the loving concern and tenderness our Blessed Mother has for us and her ardent desire to be a source of perpetual help to all who call upon her.
In answer to Pope Pius IX’s injunction to “make her known,” the Redemptorists commissioned several artists to paint copies of the original icon. More than 2,300 such copies, similarly touched to the original, have been sent to other houses of the order around the world. Pope Pius IX also received a copy, which he enshrined in his private chapel and was often seen kneeling before it in prayer. (Excerpt from Sister Mary Agatha, CMRI)
Part of the tradition is that Mary had made it clear that she wished her image to be situated between the great basilicas of St John Lateran (the Pope’s Cathedral) and St Mary Major, her own basilica. For the best part of 300 years from the year 1500, it was famous for the many miracles and graces granted to those who made the pilgrimage to the church of St Matthew on the Via Merulana, which was destroyed during the Napoleonic war.
In January 1855, the Redemptorist priests purchased Villa Caserta in Rome along the Via Merulana and converted it into their headquarters. Without realising it, the property they had purchased was once the church and monastery of Saint Matthew, the site which the Virgin reportedly chose as the icon’s shrine.
Decades later, Pope Pius IX invited the Redemptorist Fathers to set up a Marian house of veneration in Rome, in response to which the Redemptorists built the Church of St Alphonsus Liguori at that location. The Redemptorists were thus established on the Via Merulana, not knowing that it had once been the site of the Church of San Matteo and shrine of the once-famous icon.
Mother of Perpetual Succour, Pray for us!
O Mother of Perpetual Succour,
with grateful hearts we join you
in thanking God
for all the wonderful things
He has done for us,
especially for giving us,
Jesus, your Son, as our Redeemer.
O God, our Creator,
we thank You for the gift of life
and all the gifts of nature:
our senses and faculties,
our talents and abilities.
We thank You for creating us
in Your image and likeness
and for giving us this earth
to use and develop,
to respect and cherish.
Despite our failures,
you continue to show Your love for us today
by increasing the life of Your Spirit in us
at the Eucharistic table.
Finally, we thank You, loving Father,
for giving us Mary,
the Mother of Your Son,
to be our Mother of Perpetual Succour.
We are grateful for all the favours
we have received through her intercession.
We pray that those past favours
may inspire us to greater confidence,
in your loving mercy and to seek the aid
of our Mother of Perpetual Succour.
Quote/s of the Day – 27 June – The Memorial of St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor
“He who receives Communion is made holy and divinised in soul and body in the same way that water, set over a fire, becomes boiling… Communion works like yeast that has been mixed into dough so that it leavens the whole mass; …Just as by melting two candles together, you get one piece of wax, so, I think, one who receives the Flesh and Blood of Jesus is fused together with Him by this Communion and the soul finds that he is in Christ and Christ is in him.”
“If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility.
If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread and you will learn generosity.
If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels and charity will come to blossom in your heart.
If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life and you will become temperate.
If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food and you will grow fervent.
Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels and the spotless Flesh of Christ, will make you pure and chaste.”
“Our Saviour went to the wedding feast to make holy the origins of human life.”
“From Christ and in Christ, we have been reborn through the Spirit, in order to bear the fruit of life, not the fruit of our old, sinful life but the fruit of a new life founded upon our faith in Him and our love for Him. Like branches growing from a vine, we now draw our life from Christ and we cling to His holy commandment, in order to preserve this life.”
“That anyone could doubt, the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God, fills me with astonishment. Surely, she must be the Mother of God, if our Lord Jesus Christ is God and she gave birth to Him!”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor
One Minute Reflection – 27 June – Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel Matthew 7:15-20
“Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.”…Matthew 7:17
REFLECTION – ” I recommend great fidelity to the movements of the Holy Spirit. Your baptism and confirmation have implanted it like a living fountain in your soul. Listen to His whisperings and put to flight all other inspirations with one blow. If you keep this fidelity, little by little the divine Spirit will become your guide and will bear you along with Him into the bosom of God. ”Sursum corda”: “Lift up your hearts”, the introductory words to the preface of the Mass.”…Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot
PRAYER – God our Father, You open the gates of the kingdom of heaven to those who are born again of water and the Holy Spirit. Increase the grace You have given, so that the people who have been purified from all sin, may not forfeit the promised blessing of Your love. Grant that the Holy Spirit may ever guide and bear us in His inspiration. We make our pray through Christ, our Lord, in union with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen
Our Morning Offering – 27 June – The Memorial of St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) and the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and the Mother of God of Gietrzwald, Poland
Hail, Mother of God By St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father & Doctor of the Church
Hail, Mother and Virgin,
eternal Temple of the Godhead,
Venerable Treasure of Creation,
crown of virginity,
support of the true faith,
on which the Church is founded, throughout the world.
Mother of God,
who contained the infinite God
under your heart,
whom no space can contain.
Through you, the most Holy Trinity, is revealed,
adored and glorified,
demons are vanquished,
Satan cast down from heaven into hell
and our fallen nature again assumed into heaven.
Through you, the human race,
held captive in the bonds of idolatry,
arrives at the knowledge of Truth.
What more shall I say of you?
Hail, through whom kings rule,
through whom the Only-Begotten Son of God
has become the Star of Light
to those sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death.
Saint of the Day – 27 June – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Church – “The Pillar of Faith” & “Seal of all the Fathers” – Doctor Incarnationis (Doctor of the Incarnation) – Patronage – Alexandria, Egypt.
Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on The Fathers of the Church
St Cyril of Alexandria
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Today too, continuing our journey following the traces left by the Fathers of the Church, we meet an important figure: St Cyril of Alexandria. Linked to the Christological controversy which led to the Council of Ephesus in 431 and the last important representative of the Alexandrian tradition in the Greek Orient, Cyril was later defined as “the guardian of exactitude” – to be understood as guardian of the true faith – and even the “seal of the Fathers”. These ancient descriptions express clearly a characteristic feature of Cyril: the Bishop of Alexandria’s constant reference to earlier ecclesiastical authors (including, in particular, Athanasius), for the purpose of showing the continuity with tradition of theology itself. He deliberately, explicitly inserted himself into the Church’s tradition, which he recognised as guaranteeing continuity with the Apostles and with Christ himself. Venerated as a Saint in both East and West, in 1882 St Cyril was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII, who at the same time also attributed this title to another important exponent of Greek Patristics, St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387). Thus are revealed the attention and love for the Eastern Christian traditions of this Pope, who later also chose to proclaim St John Damascene (675-749) a Doctor of the Church, thereby showing that both the Eastern and Western traditions express the doctrine of Christ’s one Church.
We have almost no information on Cyril’s life prior to his election to the important See of Alexandria. He was a nephew of Theophilus, who had governed the Diocese of Alexandria as Bishop since 385 AD with a prestigious and iron hand. It is likely that Cyril was born in this Egyptian metropolis between 370 and 380 A.D., was initiated into ecclesiastical life while he was still very young and received a good education, both culturally and theologically. In 403, he went to Constantinople in the retinue of his powerful uncle. It was here that he took part in the so-called “Synod of the Oak” which deposed the Bishop of the city, John (later known as “Chrysostom”) and thereby marked the triumph of the Alexandrian See over its traditional rival, the See of Constantinople, where the Emperor resided. Upon his uncle Theophilus’ death, the still young Cyril was elected in 412 as Bishop of the influential Church of Alexandria, which he governed energetically for 32 years, always seeking to affirm her primacy throughout the East, strong also because of her traditional bonds with Rome.
Two or three years later, in 417 or 418, the Bishop of Alexandria showed himself to be realistic in mending the broken communion with Constantinople, which had lasted by then since 406 as a consequence of Chrysostom’s deposition. But the old conflict with the Constantinople See flared up again about 10 years later, when in 428 Nestorius was elected, a severe and authoritarian monk trained in Antioch. The new Bishop of Constantinople, in fact, soon provoked opposition because he preferred to use as Mary’s title in his preaching “Mother of Christ” (Christotòkos) instead of “Mother of God” (Theotòkos), already very dear to popular devotion. One reason for Bishop Nestorius’ decision was his adherence to the Antiochean type of Christology, which, to safeguard the importance of Christ’s humanity, ended by affirming the division of the Divinity. Hence, the union between God and man in Christ could no longer be true, so naturally it was no longer possible to speak of the “Mother of God”.
The reaction of Cyril – at that time the greatest exponent of Alexandrian Christology, who intended on the other hand to stress the unity of Christ’s person – was almost immediate, and from 429 he left no stone unturned, even addressing several letters to Nestorius himself. In the second of Cyril’s letters to Nestorius (PG 77, 44-49), written in February 430, we read a clear affirmation of the duty of Pastors to preserve the faith of the People of God. This was his criterion, moreover, still valid today: the faith of the People of God is an expression of tradition, it is a guarantee of sound doctrine. This is what he wrote to Nestorius: “It is essential to explain the teaching and interpretation of the faith to the people in the most irreproachable way and to remember that those who cause scandal, even to only one of the little ones, who believe in Christ, will be subjected to an unbearable punishment”.
In the same letter to Nestorius – a letter which later, in 451, was to be approved by the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council – Cyril described his Christological faith clearly: “Thus, we affirm that the natures are different that are united in one true unity but from both, has come only one Christ and Son, not because, due to their unity, the difference in their natures has been eliminated but rather, because divinity and humanity, reunited in an ineffable and indescribable union, have produced for us one Lord and Christ and Son”. And this is important – true humanity and true divinity are really united in only one Person, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Bishop of Alexandria continued: “We will profess only one Christ and Lord, not in the sense that we worship the man together with the Logos, in order not to suggest the idea of separation by saying “together’ but in the sense that we worship only one and the same, because He is not extraneous to the Logos, His body, with which He also sits at His Father’s side, not as if “two sons” are sitting beside Him but only one, united with His own flesh”.
And soon the Bishop of Alexandria, thanks to shrewd alliances, obtained the repeated condemnation of Nestorius, by the See of Rome, consequently with a series of 12 anathemas which he himself composed and finally, by the Council held in Ephesus in 431, the Third Ecumenical Council. The assembly which went on with alternating and turbulent events, ended with the first great triumph of devotion to Mary and with the exile of the Bishop of Constantinople, who had been reluctant to recognise the Blessed Virgin’s right to the title of “Mother of God” because of an erroneous Christology that brought division to Christ Himself. After thus prevailing against his rival and his doctrine, by 433 Cyril was nevertheless already able to achieve a theological formula of compromise and reconciliation with the Antiocheans. This is also significant, on the one hand, is the clarity of the doctrine of faith but in addition, on the other, the intense search for unity and reconciliation. In the following years he devoted himself in every possible way to defending and explaining his theological stance, until his death on 27 June 444.
Cyril’s writings – truly numerous and already widely disseminated in various Latin and Eastern translations in his own lifetime, attested to by their instant success – are of the utmost importance for the history of Christianity. His commentaries on many of the New and Old Testament Books are important, including those on the entire Pentateuch, Isaiah, the Psalms and the Gospels of John and Luke. Also important are his many doctrinal works, in which the defence of the Trinitarian faith against the Arian and Nestorian theses recurs. The basis of Cyril’s teaching is the ecclesiastical tradition and in particular, as I mentioned, the writings of Athanasius, his great Predecessor in the See of Alexandria. Among Cyril’s other writings, the books Against Julian deserve mention. They were the last great response to the anti-Christian controversies, probably dictated by the Bishop of Alexandria in the last years of his life to respond to the work Against the Galileans, composed many years earlier in 363 by the Emperor known as the “Apostate” for having abandoned the Christianity in which he was raised.
The Christian faith is first and foremost the encounter with Jesus, “a Person, which gives life a new horizon” (Deus Caritas Est, n. 1). St Cyril of Alexandria was an unflagging, staunch witness of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, emphasising above all his unity, as he repeats in 433 in his first letter (PG 77, 228-237) to Bishop Succensus: “Only one is the Son, only one the Lord Jesus Christ, both before the Incarnation and after the Incarnation. Indeed, the Logos born of God the Father was not one Son and the one born of the Blessed Virgin another but we believe, that the very One who was born before the ages, was also born according to the flesh and of a woman”. Over and above its doctrinal meaning, this assertion shows that faith in Jesus the Logos born of the Father is firmly rooted in history because, as St Cyril affirms, this same Jesus came in time with His birth from Mary, the Theotò-kos and in accordance with His promise will always be with us.
And this is important – God is eternal, He is born of a woman and He stays with us every day. In this trust we live, in this trust we find the way for our life…. Pope Benedict XVI
For more on St Cyril here : https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/saint-of-the-day-27-june-st-cyril-of-alexandria-doctor-father-of-the-church-the-pillar-of-faith-seal-of-all-the-fathers-doctor-incarnationis-doctor-of-the-incarnation/
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
St Adeodato of Naples
St Aedh McLugack
St Anectus of Caesarea
St Arialdus of Milan
St Arianell of Wales
Bl Benvenutus of Gubbio
St Crescens of Galatia
St Crescentius of Mainz
Bl Daniel of Schönau
Bl Davanzato of Poggibonsi
St Desideratus of Gourdon
St Felix of Rome
St Ferdinand of Aragon
St Gudene of Carthage
St Joanna the Myrrhbearer
St John of Chinon
St Ladislas I of Hungary
St Sampson of Constantinople
St Spinella of Rome
St Tôma Toán
St Zoilus of Cordoba
Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe: Among the thousands of Christians murdered by various Communist regimes in their hatred of the faith, there were 25 members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, priests, bishops, sisters and lay people, whose stories are sufficiently well documented that we know they were murdered specifically for their faith in eastern Europe and whose Causes for Canonization were opened. Their Causes were combined and they were beatified together. They have separate memorials but are remembered together today. They are –
• Andrii Ischak • Hryhorii Khomyshyn • Hryhorii Lakota • Ivan Sleziuk • Ivan Ziatyk • Klymentii Sheptytskyi • Leonid Feodorov • Levkadia Harasymiv • Mykola Konrad • Mykola Tsehelskyi • Mykolai Charnetskyi • Mykyta Budka • Oleksa Zarytskyi • Ol’Ha Bida • Ol’Ha Matskiv • Petro Verhun • Roman Lysko • Stepan Baranyk • Symeon Lukach • Vasyl Vsevolod Velychkovskyi • Volodomyr Bairak • Volodymyr Ivanovych Pryima • Yakym Senkivsky • Yosafat Kotsylovskyi • Zenon Kovalyk
Beatified – 27 June 2001 by Pope John Paul II in Ukraine
Thought for the Day – 26 June – The Memorial of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
Excerpt from St John Paul’s Homily
on the Canonisation of St Josemaria – 6 October 2002
“All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8,14). These words of the Apostle Paul, … help us understand better the significant message of today’s canonisation of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. With docility he allowed himself to be led by the Spirit, convinced that only in this way can one fully accomplish God’s will.
This fundamental Christian truth was a constant theme in his preaching. Indeed, he never stopped inviting his spiritual children to invoke the Holy Spirit to ensure that their interior life, namely, their life of relationship with God and their family, professional and social life, totally made up of small earthly realities, would not be separated but would form only one life that was “holy and full of God”. He wrote, “We find the invisible God in the most visible and material things” (Conversations with Josemaría Escrivá, n. 114).
This teaching of his is still timely and urgent today. In virtue of the Baptism that incorporates him into Christ, the believer is called to establish with the Lord an uninterrupted and vital relationship. He is called to be holy and to collaborate in the salvation of humanity.
To fulfil such a rigorous mission, one needs constant interior growth nourished by prayer. St Josemaría was a master in the practice of prayer, which he considered to be an extraordinary “weapon” to redeem the world. He always recommended: “in the first place prayer; then expiation; in the third place but very much in third place, action” (The Way, n. 82). It is not a paradox but a perennial truth: the fruitfulness of the apostolate lies above all in prayer and in intense and constant sacramental life. This, in essence, is the secret of the holiness and the true success of the saints.
May the Lord help you, dear brothers and sisters, to accept this challenging ascetical and missionary instruction. May Mary sustain you, whom the holy founder invoked as “Spes nostra, Sedes Sapientiae, Ancilla Domini!” (Our Hope, Seat of Wisdom, Handmaid of the Lord).
May Our Lady make everyone an authentic witness of the Gospel, ready everywhere to make a generous contribution to building the Kingdom of Christ! May the example and teaching of St Josemaría be an incentive to us, so that at the end of the earthly pilgrimage, we too may be able to share in the blessed inheritance of heaven! There, together with the angels and all the saints, we will contemplate the face of God and sing His glory for all eternity.”
Mary, Our Hope, Seat of Wisdom, Handmaid of the Lord, Pray for us!
Quote/s of the Day – 26 June – The Memorial of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
“Turn your gaze constantly to Jesus who, without ceasing to be God, humbled Himself and took the nature of a slave, in order to serve us… May you seek Christ, may you find Christ, may you love Christ.”
“When you approach the tabernacle, remember, that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.”
““A man who fails to love the Mass, fails to love Christ. We must make an effort to ‘live’ the Mass with calm and serenity, with devotion and affection. And this is why I have always suspected that those who want the Mass to be over with quickly show, with this insensitive attitude, that they have not yet realised what the sacrifice of the altar means.” AND “Many Christians take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (no hurry here). They are leisurely, too, in their professionally activities, at table and recreation (no hurry here either). But isn’t it strange how those same Christians find themselves in such a rush and want to hurry the priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy sacrifice of the altar?”
“If you have so many defects, why are you surprised, to find defects in others?”
“Conversion is the task of a moment; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. To begin is for everyone, to persevere is for saints!”
“We are all called to be saints! A saint is a person, who lets the light shine through.”
One Minute Reflection – 26 June – The Memorial of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975) – Today’s Gospel Matthew7:6.12-14.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”…Matthew 7:12-14
REFLECTION – “Never say of anybody under you: he is no good. It is you who are no good, for you cannot find a place where he will be of use.”…The Furrow #975
“…He does not give us this standard as a distant target, as a crowning point of a whole lifetime of struggle. It is — it ought to be, I repeat so that you may turn it into specific resolutions — the starting point, for Our Lord presents it as a sign of Christianity: ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples.'”…Friends of God #223
“All the things of this world are no more than earth. Place them in a heap under your feet and you will be so much the nearer to heaven.”…The Way #676
PRAYER – Enable me loving Father, to live a life of purity that will make me live in You. Let me be so united with You that whatever I might ask will be in total accord with Your will for me. St Josemaria, your inspiration and teachings help and show us the way to sanctification, please intercede for us all, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 26 June – The Memorial of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
Come, O Holy Spirit by St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
Come, O Holy Spirit:
enlighten my understanding
to know Your commands;
strengthen my heart
against the wiles of the enemy;
inflame my will…
I have heard Your voice,
and I don’t want to harden my heart to resisting,
by saying ‘later… tomorrow.’
Nunc coepi! Now!
Lest there be no tomorrow for me!
O, Spirit of truth and wisdom,
Spirit of understanding and counsel,
Spirit of joy and peace!
I want what You want,
I want it because You want it,
I want it as You want it,
I want it when You want it.
Saint of the Day – 26 June – St Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (1902-1975) commonly known as Josemaria Escrivá- “The Saint of Ordinary Life” – Priest, Founder of Opus Dei, an organisation of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness by God and that ordinary life can result in sanctity. St Josemaria was born on 9 January 1902 in Barbastro, Spain and died on 26 June 1975 of natural causes in his office in Rome, Italy. His remains are interred at the Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace at Viale Bruno Buozzi 75, Rome, Italy. Patronage – Opus Dei.
From the Apostolic Brief regarding the Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Josemaría Escrivá, Priest, Founder of Opus Dei:
“The Founder of Opus Dei has recalled that the universality of the call to full union with Christ implies also that any human activity can become a place for meeting God. (…) He was a real master of Christian living and reached the heights of contemplation with continuous prayer, constant mortification, a daily effort to work carried out with exemplary docility to the motions of the Holy Spirit, with the aim of serving the Church as the Church wishes to be served.
A bright and cheerful home: Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain, on 9 January 1902, the second of six children born to José Escrivá and María Dolores Albás. His parents were devout Catholics and he was baptised on 13 January that year and received from them – first through the example of their life – a firm grounding in the faith and the Christian virtues: love for frequent Confession and Holy Communion, a trusting recourse to prayer, devotion to Our Lady, helping those in greatest need.
Blessed Josemaría grew up as a cheerful, lively and straightforward child, fun-loving, good at study, intelligent and with an observing eye. He had a great affection for his mother and a trusting friendship with his father, who encouraged him to feel free to open his heart and tell him his worries and was always ready to answer his questions with affection and prudence. It was not long before Our Lord began to temper his soul in the forge of sorrow. Between 1910 and 1913 his three younger sisters died and in 1914 his family suffered financial ruin. In 1915 the Escrivás moved to Logroño, a nearby town, where their father found a job with which to keep his family.
In the winter of 1917-18 something happened which was to have a decisive influence on Josemaría Escrivá’s future. The snow fell very heavily that Christmas in Logroño, and one day he saw some frozen footprints in the snow. They had been left by a discalced Carmelite. Josemaría found himself wondering If others sacrifice so much for God and their neighbour, couldn’t I do something too? This was how God started to speak to his heart: “I began to have an inkling of what Love is, to realise that my heart was yearning for something great, for love.” He did not yet know what precisely God wanted of him, but he decided to become a priest, thinking that it would make him more available to fulfil God’s will.
Priestly ordination: Having completed his secondary education, he started his priestly studies at the Seminary of Logroño, passing on, in 1920, to the Seminary of Saragossa, at whose Pontifical University he completed his formation prior to ordination. At his father’s suggestion and with the permission of his ecclesiastical superiors, he also studied Law at the University of Saragossa. His generous and cheerful character and his straightforwardness and calm approach to things won him many friends. His life of piety, respect for discipline and endeavour in study were an example to his fellow seminarians and in 1922, when he was but twenty years of age, he was appointed an inspector or prefect in the Seminary by the Archbishop of Saragossa.
During that time he spent many hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. His spiritual life became deeply rooted in the Eucharist. Each day he would also visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar, asking Mary to request God to show him what He wanted him to do. As he recalled on 2 October 1968: “Since I felt those inklings of God’s love, I sought to carry out, within the limits of my smallness, what He expected from this poor instrument. (…) And, with those yearnings, I prayed and prayed and prayed, in constant prayer. I kept on repeating: Domine, ut sit!, Domine, ut videam! like the poor fellow in the Gospel, who shouted out because God can do everything. Lord, that I may see! Lord, that it may come to be! And I also repeated (…) filled with confidence in my heavenly Mother: Domina, ut sit!, Domina, ut videam! The Blessed Virgin has always helped me to discover her Son’s desires.”
On 27 November 1924 his father, José Escrivá, died suddenly and unexpectedly. On 28 March 1925, Josemaría was ordained a priest by Bishop Díaz Gómara in the church of the Seminary of St Charles in Saragossa. Two days later he celebrated his first Solemn Mass in the Holy Chapel of the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar and on 31 March he moved to Perdiguera, a small country village, where he had been appointed assistant regent to the parish.
In April 1927, with the consent of his Archbishop, he took up residence in Madrid to study for his doctorate in Civil Law, a degree which at that time was only granted by the Central University in the Spanish capital. In Madrid, his apostolic zeal soon brought him into contact with a wide variety of people: students, artists, workers, academics, priests. He spent many hours caring for children and for sick and poverty-stricken people in the outer suburbs of the city. At the same time he taught law to earn a living for himself and his mother and sister and young brother. For a good many years the family were in serious financial difficulties, which they bore with dignity and courage. Our Lord blessed Fr Josemaría with abundant graces, both ordinary and extraordinary. They found a fertile reception in his generous soul and produced much fruit in the service of the Church and souls.
The foundation of Opus Dei (Work of God): Opus Dei was born on 2 October 1928. Blessed Josemaría was spending some days on retreat and, while doing his meditation on some notes regarding the inner motions he had received from God in the previous years, he suddenly saw – to see was the term he always used to describe the foundational experience– the mission the Lord wanted to entrust to him: to open up in the Church a new vocational path, aimed at spreading the quest for holiness and the practice of apostolate through the sanctification of ordinary work in the middle of the world, without changing one’s place. A few months later, on 14 February 1930, God made him understand that Opus Dei was to spread among women also.
From that moment onward, Blessed Josemaría devoted all his energies to the fulfilment of his foundational mission, fostering among men and women from all areas of society a personal commitment to follow Christ, to love their neighbour and seek holiness in daily life. He did not see himself as an innovator or reformer, for he was convinced that Jesus Christ is eternally new and that the Holy Spirit is constantly rejuvenating the Church, for whose service God has brought Opus Dei into existence. Fully aware that the task entrusted to him was supernatural by nature, he proceeded to dig deep foundations for his work, based on prayer and penance, on a joyous awareness of his being a son of God and on tireless work. People of all sorts began to follow him and, in particular, university students and teachers, among whom he awakened a genuine determination to serve everyone, firing in them a desire to place Christ at the heart of all human activities by means of work that is sanctified and sanctifies both the doer and those for whom it is done. This was the goal he set for the initiatives of the faithful of Opus Dei: to lift up to God, with the help of grace, each and every created reality, so that Christ may reign in everyone and in everything; to get to know Christ Jesus; to get Him known by others; to take Him everywhere. One can understood why he was able to declare that The divine paths of the earth have been opened up.
Apostolic expansion: In 1933, he started a university Centre, the DYA Academy, because he grasped that the world of human knowledge and culture is a key to the evangelisation of society as a whole. In 1934 he published Spiritual Considerations, the first version of The Way. Since then there have been 372 printings of the book in 44 languages and its circulation has passed the four and a half million mark (in 1992 – the figures are much higher now).
While Opus Dei was thus taking its first steps, the Spanish Civil War broke out. It was 1936. There were serious outbreaks of religious violence in Madrid. To these Fr Josemaría responded heroically with prayer, penance and apostolic endeavour. It was a time of suffering for the whole Church but also a time of spiritual and apostolic growth and for strengthening hope. By 1939, with the war over, the Founder of Opus Dei was able to give new vigour to his apostolic work all over the Spanish peninsula. In particular he mobilised many young university students to take Christ to every area of society and discover the greatness of the Christian calling. At the same time, with his reputation for holiness growing, many Bishops invited him to preach to their clergy and to lay people involved in Catholic organisations. Similar petitions came to him from the superiors of religious orders – he always said yes.
In 1941, while he was preaching a retreat to priests in Lerida, in the North of Spain, his mother who had been a great help to him in the apostolates of Opus Dei, died. God also let him become the butt of harsh misunderstandings. The Bishop of Madrid, Bishop Eijo y Garay gave him his fullest backing and granted the first canonical approval to Opus Dei. Blessed Josemaría accepted these difficulties with a prayerful and cheerful attitude, aware that “all those desiring to live piously in Christ Jesus will meet persecution” (2 Tim 3:12) and he recommended his spiritual children, in the face of these attacks, to forgive ungrudgingly: “don’t answer back, but pray, work and smile.”
In 1943, through a new foundational grace he received while celebrating Holy Mass, there came to birth – within Opus Dei – the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, in which priests proceeding from the faithful of Opus Dei could be incardinated. The fact of all the faithful of Opus Dei, both laity and priests, belonging fully to Opus Dei, with both laity and priests cooperating organically in its apostolates, is a feature of the foundational charism, which the Church confirmed in 1982, when giving Opus Dei its definitive status in Church Law as a Personal Prelature. On 25 June 1944 three engineers were ordained to the priesthood. One of them was Alvaro del Portillo, who would eventually succeed the Founder as the head of Opus Dei. In the years that followed, close on a thousand laymen of Opus Dei reached the priesthood at the encouragement of Blessed Josemaría.
The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which is intrinsically united to the Prelature of Opus Dei, also carries out, in close harmony with the Pastors of the local Churches, activities of spiritual formation for diocesan priests and candidates to the priesthood. Diocesan priests too may belong to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, while maintaining unchanged their status as clergy of their respective dioceses.
A Roman and universal spirit: As soon as the end of the world war was in sight, Blessed Josemaría began to prepare apostolic work in other countries, because, as he pointed out, Jesus wants his Work from the outset to have a universal, Catholic heart. In 1946 he moved to Rome, in order to obtain papal recognition for Opus Dei. On 24 February 1947, Pius XII granted Opus Dei the decretum laudis, or decree of praise; and three years later, on 16 June 1950, the Church’s definitive approval. Since then it has been possible to admit as Cooperators of Opus Dei men and women who are not Catholic and not even Christian but who wish to help its apostolic works, with their work, alms and prayer.
The headquarters of Opus Dei were fixed in Rome, to emphasise even more clearly the aspiration which is the guiding force of all its work, to serve the Church as the Church wishes to be served, in close union with the see of Peter and the hierarchy of the Church.On several occasions, Pope Pius XII and St Pope John XXIII sent Blessed Josemaría expressions of their affection and esteem; Paul VI wrote to him in 1964 describing Opus Dei as “a living expression of the perennial youthfulness of the Church”.
This stage too of the life of the Founder of Opus Dei, was characterised by all kinds of trials. Not only was his health affected by many sufferings (for more than ten years he had a serious form of diabetes, from which he was miraculously cured in 1954) but also there were financial hardships and the difficulties arising from the expansion of the apostolic works worldwide. Nevertheless, he kept smiling throughout, because “True virtue is not sad or disagreeable but pleasantly cheerful.” His permanent good humour was a constant witness to his unconditional love for God’s will.
“The world is little, when Love is great”: his desire to flood the earth with the light of Christ led him to follow up the calls that many Bishops made to him from all over the world, asking Opus Dei to help them in the work of evangelisation with its apostolates. Many varied projects were undertaken: colleges to impart professional training, schools for agricultural workers, universities, primary and secondary schools, hospitals and medical centres, etc. These activities, which he often compared to a shoreless sea, originate at the initiative of ordinary Christians who seek to meet specific local needs with a lay mentality and a professional approach. They are open to people of all races, religions and social backgrounds, because their unmistakably Christian outlook is always matched by a deep respect for the freedom of consciences.
When John XXIII announced his decision to call an Ecumenical Council, Blessed Josemaría began to pray and get others to pray for the happy outcome of this great initiative of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, as he wrote in a letter in 1962. As a result of the deliberations of the Council, the Church’s solemn Magisterium was to confirm fundamental aspects of the spirit of Opus Dei, such as the universal call to holiness; professional work as a means to holiness and apostolate; the value and lawful limits of Christian freedom in temporal affairs; and the Holy Mass as the centre and root of the interior life. Blessed Josemaría met numerous Council Fathers and experts, who saw him as a forerunner of many of the master lines of the Second Vatican Council. Profoundly identified with the Council’s teaching, he diligently fostered its implementation through the formative activities of Opus Dei all over the world.
Holiness in the midst of the world: “Heaven and earth seem to merge, far away, on the horizon. But don’t forget that where they really meet is in your heart as a son of God.” Blessed Josemaría preached constantly that interior life is more important than organising activities. In The Way he wrote that “These world crises are crises of saints.” He insisted that holiness always requires prayer, work and apostolate to be intertwined in what he called a unity of life and practised this himself, with cheerful perseverance.
He was utterly convinced that in order to attain sanctity through daily work, one needs to struggle to be a soul of prayer, of deep inner life. When a person lives this way, “everything becomes prayer, everything can and ought to lead us to God, feeding our constant contact with Him, from morning till night. Every kind of work can become prayer and every kind of work, become prayer, turns into apostolate.”
The root of the astonishing fruitfulness of his ministry lies precisely in his ardent interior life which made Blessed Josemaría a contemplative in the midst of the world. His interior life fed on prayer and the sacraments and expressed itself in a passionate love for the Eucharist, in the depth with which he lived the Mass as the centre and root of his own life, in his tender devotion to the Virgin Mary, to St Joseph and the Guardian Angels, and in his faithfulness to the Church and the Pope.
The definitive encounter with the Most Holy Trinity: During the last years of his life, the Founder of Opus Dei undertook a number of catechetical journeys to countries in Europe and Latin America. Wherever he went, there were meetings, which were always simple and familiar in tone, even though often those listening to him were to be counted in thousands. He would speak about God, the sacraments, Christian devotions, the sanctification of work and his love for the Church and the Pope. On 28 March 1975 he celebrated his priestly Golden Jubilee. His prayer that day was like a summing up of his whole life: “Fifty years have gone by and I am still like a faltering child. I am just beginning, beginning again, as I do each day in my interior life. And it will be so to the end of my days: always beginning anew.”
On 26 June 1975, at midday, Blessed Josemaría died in his workroom, of a cardiac arrest, before a picture of Our Lady which received his last glance. At the time, Opus Dei was present in all five continents, with over 60,000 members from 80 nationalities. His books of spirituality (The Way, Holy Rosary, Conversations with Mgr Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, Friends of God, Love for the Church, The Way of the Cross, Furrow, The Forge)have reached multi-millions of copies.
After his death, many people asked the Holy Father for his canonisation. On 17 May 1992, in Rome, His Holiness St Pope John Paul II raised Josemaría Escrivá to the altars, in a beatification ceremony before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. On 21 September 2001, the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinal and Bishop members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, unanimously confirmed the miraculous character of a cure attributed to Blessed Josemaría. The decree regarding this miracle was read before the Holy Father on 20 December. On 26 February 2002, John Paul II presided over an Ordinary Public Consistory of Cardinals and, having heard the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops present, he established that the ceremony for the Canonisation of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá should take place on 6 October 2002. And so it did!….Vatican.va
St Josemaria, Pray for us!
more images and information here : https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/saint-of-the-day-26-june-josemaria-escriva-de-balaguer-y-albas/